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Karen Fournier

Associate Professor of Music Theory
Office: 128 Stearns

Dr. Karen Fournier's principal area of research, the role played by women in the British punk movement during its foundation in the mid-1970s, has generated a book-length study entitled Punk and Disorderly: Acting Out Gender in Class in Early British Punk. The study focuses its attention on such British bands as Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Slits, X-Ray Spex, the Adverts, and Delta 5, and examines how punk challenged and redefined conventional gender stereotypes in popular culture. She presented aspects of this work most recently at British popular-music conferences at the Universities of Huddersfield, Leeds, and Chester. She has also contributed a number of essays on various aspects of British and American punk to Albums (ed. James Perone) and to An Encyclopedia of the 100 Greatest Bands of All Times (ed. David Moskovitz). Additionally, Fournier is working on a book entitled The Words And Music of Alanis Morissette, which will be released in 2014 as part of the Singer-Songwriter Series published by Praeger Press. Only tangentially related to her interest in punk, this book nonetheless explores many issues raised in her study of that earlier genre, particularly the notion of the "angry young woman" as embodied in Morissette's work from the 1990s.

Using the history of music theory as the basis for a broader study of conceptual change, Fournier has also published articles on epistemology in such journals at The Journal of Music and Meaning, The Journal of Musicological Research, The Journal of Culture and Power, The College Music Symposium, and Music Theory Spectrum, and has presented philosophical papers at music-theoretical and cultural-studies conferences in Canada, Spain, and the United States. Her most recent work in this area draws the analogy between research methodologies and biological species and proposes an evolutionary model to explain the growth and development of knowledge in the area of music theory. Her theories stand in diametric opposition to the more popular Kuhnian "revolutionary" model to which many critical studies of music scholarship tend to allude in their descriptions of the field.

An award-winning pedagogue, Fournier joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 2005 after holding the position of assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin. She has also held adjunct positions at Brock University (St. Catharines, Ontario) and the Universities of Guelph (Guelph, Ontario) and Western Ontario (London, Ontario). She has a particular interest in music theory pedagogy, and has spoken at a number of pedagogy panels and workshops at national meetings of the College Music Society and the Society for Music Teacher Education over the past several years.

Fournier received her BA in history from Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada), a second BA in music (with distinction) from the University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Canada), an MA in musicology from the University of Western Ontario, and the PhD in music theory from the University of Western Ontario.

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